Making Meaning & Make Up with Michelle Phan

Sarah
"Your new book, "Make Up" has recently launched. Tell us how the contents surpass makeup tips to real life tips and telling your story. What is the core message you are trying to get out to empower other women towards success?"

Michelle
"Nothing is more important to me than teaching, learning, and communicating. Every day on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—every digital platform that I’m on—I get asked questions about a huge range of topics. Everything from dating and making videos to dealing with acne and finding a job or internship. I wanted to write a book as a way to answer everyone’s questions. Makeup: Your Life Guide to Beauty Style and Success, Online and Off, includes my trademark beauty tips, as well as stories from my life and advice on topics including health, fashion, creativity, turning your passions into a profession, online etiquette and how to deal with bullying."

Sarah
"As a makeup artist, you've always had beauty as art in mind. Your other forms of art include painting, creating, etc. yet you also founded jewelry lines and began companies. How has innovation led you to more entrepreneurial routes?"

Michelle
"I’m a former art student, self-taught makeup artist, and digital nerd who was lucky to see her hobby turn into a profession. Back in the early days of YouTube, I started posting beauty tutorials on a regular basis. A lot of people watched them, then a lot more. Within a short period of time, I had hundreds of millions of views and became the most- subscribed-to woman on YouTube. From there, I’ve been on an incredible journey that’s brought me around the globe and even seen the creation of my own makeup line, em Michelle Phan. In 2011 I co-founded ipsy, the world’s largest and most passionate online beauty community, and most recently have partnered with Endemol Beyond USA to launch a new premium lifestyle network named ICON. ICON is an online global destination for the empowerment of viewers through inspirational premium content, conversation, and community. ICON serves a multi-cultural demographic and features original programming in beauty, fashion, wellness, DIY, food, human-interest stories, and travel."

Sarah
"You dedicated a video with your artwork to a human trafficking organization. What is the story behind this organization and how did you get involved?"

Michelle
"Love146 is a non-profit organization that gives holistic care to human trafficking survivors, providing a place for them to call home and professional care to help rebuild their lives. The organization derives its name from a true story of a girl who was a victim of human trafficking who was referred to as number 146 rather than a name. My video, #RememberTheGirl, shares her story that can hopefully inspire my viewers to share and bring awareness to this issue. I believe that by sharing one powerful story you can not only turn negativity into positivity, but you can also ignite a movement."

Sarah
"How do you spend each day with your fans? You are known for chatting and replying, and you once put a post about spending an hour or so a day responding to feedback. How does your fanbase play into your projects and ideas?"

Michelle
"I have a wonderful relationship with my online family. Reading their comments, feedback, and own personal stories that they share with me constantly inspires me. They really are like my online friends. I have not met most of them, however if a serendipities moment happens and I meet one, it's like I'm meeting an old friend. My subscribers are a huge source of inspiration. They often comment on what videos they would like to see next, and I am constantly reading their feedback to get ideas. I am also inspired by everything around me…from technology to magazines, nature, different cultures and even food."

Sarah
"How have you grown from makeup tutorial Youtube star to an innovator? What best describes what has inspired your journey?’

Michelle
"Four years ago my goal was to build a network and launch a makeup line. Now that I’ve achieved both, I really want to help others who are talented build their own brands. That’s why I recently partnered with Cutting Edge Group to launch Shift Music Group, and have teamed up with Endemol Beyond USA and will be expanding my lifestyle network by building a boutique premium talent network that will feature key tastemakers and pioneers in the YouTube space."

Sarah
"What are the main values you try to teach women and young girls through your advice and tutorials? It seems that teaching is the main agenda of each pursuit as well as providing new angles of beauty as art."

Michelle
The message behind all of my videos and my work is to empower young people. I want to inspire them to be brave and remind them that they have the freedom to dream. That is why I say "good luck" at the end of all my videos – it's because I believe in them and I always encourage them to try something new. Whether it's a new look, a new attitude or a new chapter in their lives.

Sarah
How does perceiving beauty as art help us to not internalize media standards but to make beauty our own? What do you try to instill about creating outer beauty with inner beauty?

Michelle
I never believed in the idea of a one size fit for all beauty look. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and we are the eyes. We are in control of the story we tell and convey on our faces. This is why makeup is truly a form of self expression on the face.

Sarah
How does your faith and spirituality play into your projects? For examples, Ever Eden was inspired by Joan of Arc. Tell us about such ventures.

Michelle
Sharing stories is what connects us. Everything I create, whether it's a business, a beauty look, a video are inspired by stories and impressions in my life. The same goes with spirituality. It's a way for me to connect with my community on a more intimate level. As for the business side if it's built on a strong foundation of stories, it will last much longer.

Sarah
How do you update your social media and navigate through how the media perceives you? How do you perceive you? How do you stay "normal?" Do you feel like there are boxes people have put you in? For example you have played video games and bypassed many gender roles, becoming a leader and a boss at companies rather than simply producing makeup tutorials.

Michelle
In my personal life, I evolve. In Hollywood, you have a storyline and you play a character, but digital talent is so different because we are authentic to who we are, online and off. As I grow up, my audience grows up, too, and I teach them everything I've learned. Life is not a marketing scheme; life is about evolving and growing. I want to keep growing and branching out, learn as much as I can, and teach what I learn to those who are following me.

Sarah
Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your current projects, ambitions and goals? Lastly, how can we help?

Michelle
I will definitely be more involved behind the scenes. Producing, directing, marketing...basically creating. I will still do on camera stuff from time to time, but I want to dedicate my gifts to help build new talent and mentor future creators. This is what I do best. Learn, share and create. I want to pass this knowledge to the next generation. I will also be more involved in technology. By that, I mean creating new tools, apps, products in the 3D printing world and much much more. Thus, creating more jobs and opportunities for future passionate creators.

Most recently, I joined forces with Cutting Edge Group (CEG) to launch Shift Music Group, a unique model for a recording and music publishing company that leverages the power of social media to spread awareness for new and existing artists. In addition, I have partnered with Endemol Beyond USA to launch a new premium lifestyle network named ICON. Creatively led by myself, ICON is an online global destination for the empowerment of viewers through inspirational premium content, conversation, and community. ICON serves a multi-cultural demographic and features original programming in beauty, fashion, wellness, DIY, food, human-interest stories, and travel.

Sarah
Who are your idols? What women do you look up to?

Michelle
My mother, teachers, nurses, children, Princess Diana, Bruce Lee, Banksy, and Bob Marley are some of my biggest sources of inspiration. My subscribers and my community also inspire me. They are the reason I do what I do every day.

Sarah
Where can we find out more?

Michelle
To find out more about my businesses, my projects, and me please visit my YouTube channel, website, or social media platforms. I have provided links below.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/MichellePhan
Website: http://michellephan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichellePhanOfficial?_rdr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellephan
Instagram: https://instagram.com/michellephan/

 

 

Allison GrayceComment